The thing to remember, is that the odds of you being the target for hacking are very, very, very slim. To be hacked, you'd have to seek out, and then piss off sufficiently, an actual hacker. Hacking is about someone trying to prove that they're better than others. That can either be by getting into some high profile site, like say IBM or Microsoft's website, or it can be a bit more personal, targeting a specific individual who represents some kind of challenge to their status.
Generally speaking however, if you have an active network connection, your system is potentially vulnerable to attack. That's just the reality of things. All you can do is try and limit the opportunities for this sort of thing. Since malware is by far the biggest threat these days, and growing, that is where the majority of your efforts should be spent. To that end, there are some simple things you can do to dramatically reduce your malware risk.
The biggest of these is not to use Internet Explorer. You should also avoid using Outlook/Outlook Express, and MS Office which is being increasingly targeted (and MS Word still has at least 3 known and unpatched exploits). Also on the list would be file sharing, or P2P, programs, and any kind of pirated software which includes no-cd cracks for games and key generators.
Internet Explorer is the primary target for malware authors. Not using it, or anything based on it, will render you immune to picking up the majority of malware out there. Outlook and Outlook Express are prone to being hit by email worms, and are very spammer friendly. Not by design, just as a result of many short sighted development decisions on the part of Microsoft. P2P networks are just riddled with malware and viruses, so best to just steer clear. And you never know when there might be a hidden payload in pirated software.
Hi all, just a quick post before I go to bed
I leave me my machine on all night. Dont as why, I just do. But what I do, is I log off to the users screen. I know that it "closes" network connections and defaults to workstation settings (which I have actually tweaked a bit in TweakUI ) but does that actually make a fundamental difference as to whether I would get "hacked" or not?
I am on a LAN on Student Residences and I use AVG Free, SpywareBlaster, AdAware, and the Windows XP Firewall. I believe it to be a fairly good security setup and even if I do say so myself; I just dont get viruses and such because I am sensible
Any advice? Just a curiosity ppl...